Defense Base Act Compensation Blog

The Modern Day DBA Casualty

Archive for April, 2009

Could it be true CNA is worse than AIG?

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on April 29, 2009

That’s what we’ve been hearing.
We are getting numerous reports on dealing with CNA’s claims adjusters.

We are reposting this from ProPublica

Note that Daniel is typing with two fingers, the two that they didn’t amputate.


I’m disputing the facts as per your attorney’s letter claiming I have reached MMI. The fact that I need medication on a continuous base has nothing to do with the fact that have an attorney.
In the time that you used the services of Roger Levy you continued to speak to me via e-mail. Please stop ignoring Unitas’s request to provide me with medication. You sent them a letter requesting that they forward all detail about the medication that i need.
If I do not receive my medication, my health would seriously be affected. IF my health is affected as a result of your refusal to talk to me, I would not hesitate to charge you with criminal negligence is that understood!!!!!!!!!
I’m not one of the locals that are messing with. Stop your childish behaveior and pay for my medication. Your are not even attempting to settle any dispute. I will post my e-mails to you on every site on the net possible until you start paying my debts.
I worked in the intelligence/security branch of the Police in my country. Please do not underestimate my intelligence. I leave you with i final thought………….
“I wonder if your friends in Sienna Girls High School in the USA no that your are killings innocent contractors by refusing them medication and benefits”
Please have a good nights sleep and pray before you go to sleep.

Daniel Brink

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Injured War Zone Contractors on Democracy Now

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on April 28, 2009

Injured War Zone Contractors fight AIG and CNA

The guys did a great job on Democracy Now.
Thank you T Miller, John Woodson, Kevin Smith Idol
for keeping up the good fight
Thank you Democracy Now and Amy Goodman
for keeping us in the news.
See the video here

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AIG, their IME, PTSD the saga continues

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on April 26, 2009

Following is a recent PTSD case that was not won or not lost, we’re not sure.

Maybe they’ve made up another “Blended Approach”  like they were using for AWW, for determining PTSD.   Not really giving the claimant what the DBA entitles him to, but giving him enough that it doesn’t appear that he was completely denied benefits.  The plaintiff’s attorney in this case often ends up with the “blended approach”.

In this case, the case is below, ALJ Rosenows claims that

“the fully developed rationale of the more extensively trained and credentialed Dr Griffin” carries more weight with him than the claimants doctor.

This doctor is not qualified to administer or interpret the MMPI and the Fake Bad Scale , Bullshit as Science, although in another claim he did administer these tests in an unmarked office on a Sunday morning in Houston and the claimant subsequently lost his case.  The same plaintiff’s attorney sent this claimant from 5 states away to see this charlatan.

In a hearing under Judge Romero this doctor states

“The diagnoses of PTSD is much in doubt. It’s never been validated scientifically, and there are numerous papers criticizing it. It might just be another Gulf War Sydrome” .

This doctor does have a history of being paid to testify on behalf of AIG in DBA claims.

The claimant was not  required to go to this Doctor according to the Defense Base Act so why did he go, GARY?

Click on the Case number to read this case, pay attention to the players, visit the DBA X Files for more

U.S. Department of Labor Office of Administrative Law Judges
St. Tammany Courthouse Annex
428 E. Boston Street, 1st Floor
Covington, LA 70433-2846
(985) 809-5173
(985) 893-7351 (Fax)
Issue Date: 08 April 2009
Case No. 2008-LDA-326
OWCP No. 02-141282
In the Matter of:
On Behalf of Claimant
On Behalf of Employer
Administrative Law Judge
On 18 Mar 05, he was in Kirkuk. As he left the mess hallafter lunch, he was hit by a mortar round. It threw him five feet in the air and knocked him out. He was air evacuated to a MASH unit at Anaconda. That’s the reason his is scared of helicopters now.
He recalls a nurse holding his hand, having his clothes cut off, and getting doped up. After a week he was transferred to theArmy Hospital at Landstuhl, Germany. He was there about a week and then sent home to Monroe.
He was hospitalized for a day, and then released to go home,where he shares a house with his mother.

I did not find Mr. Gomilla’s findings or opinions to be as persuasive as the fullydeveloped rationale of the more extensively trained and credentialed Dr. Griffith.
Employer’s psychiatric expert likewise concluded that Claimant was trying to appear ill and inventing an illness. He noted that the MMPI results indicated Claimant was not truthful in his responses, indicating malingering and rendering the tested unusable for diagnosis. See Bullshit as Science

The expert medical evidence offered by Employer was the most probative and persuasive in the record.

The four expert doctors who examined Claimant on behalf of Employer issued highly consistent and mutually corroborative opinions as to Claimant’s status and ability to work.

AIG’s FAB Four

They found no significant objective findings to support Claimant’s subjective complaints, believed he was exaggerating and feigning symptoms, and could return to work.
At the outset, I note that I did not find Claimant’s testimony to be compellingly credible. His appearance and demeanor did not create an impression of reliability.

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AIG in Iraq: A Cruel Way to Make a Buck

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on April 24, 2009

Nobody says it better than Workers’ Comp Insider

You’ll want to read the full post and check out the comments.

AIG has been in the news mostly for its ingenious method of losing money: insuring the riskiest possible financial transactions and tanking after these risks go bad. But give the biggest insurance company in the world some credit. They still know how to make money the old fashioned way: collecting premiums and denying claims. To be sure, this strategy is not easy to do in the states, where public scrutiny is never more than a phone call away. But it works rather effectively in Iraq.

T. Christian Miller from Propublica and Doug Smith from the LA Times have described in great detail how AIG transformed Iraq into a business opportunity with an enormous upside.  

AIG used the argument of extremely high-risk working conditions to boost the premiums. Then they turned around and used the strategy of denial to boost profits. Who says capitalism is dead?

AIG may not know diddly about the risk in risky financial vehicles, but they certainly know how to make money in conventional comp insurance. Of course, it helps that the injured workers are so invisible, like obscure figures in a desert sand storm, struggling blindly to find some kind of shelter in a harsh and unsympathetic world.

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Sit Rep April 23, 2009 The Defense Base Act and the Injured War Zone Contractor

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on April 23, 2009

Injured Contractors have been in the news again over the last week.

Injured Contractors were on Good Morning America and 20/20.

The LA Times and ProPublica published a story that the LA Times sat on for a year.

Representative Elijah E Cummings on Tuesday asked for another hearing by Congress, this time by the Domestic Policy Committee.  He is outraged at what he has just read about.

In the meantime the abuse of the Injured War Zone Contractor continues with no intervention.

AIG continues to get away with having claims hearings post poned to keep important information that would help other injured contractors  out of public record.

AIG gets away with not showing up for hearings.

CNA continues to deny Traumatic Brain Injury screening to bomb blast victims.

The Department of Labor OALJ is not assigning claims for hearings, at least not for the last three months.

The Department of Labor is AWOL.

DBA cases are lingering in the twilight zone for as long as six years while the injured contractors are denied medical benefits and financial compensation that the Defense Base Act put in place for them and the taxpayer already paid for.  They continue to have their credit ruined,  lose their homes, lose their families, lose their lives.

Injured Contractors and their families join forces to ensure their voices are heard.

They are not going away.

You can join them by using the contact information at

Posted in Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Injured Contractors, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

In Memory of Tim Eysslinck

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on April 23, 2009

We lost Tim Eysslinck to PTSD  five years ago today.


His family was denied Defense Base Act  benefits after a very  dirty battle with CNA and their lawyers.

Tim's daughter

We have no words to describe this travesty

Love ya Birgit

See Also Casualty Not Counted:  Tim Eysslinck

Posted in AIG and CNA | Tagged: , , , , | 9 Comments »

Cummings Requests Congressional Hearing on AIG denying claims and the Department of Labor’s non enforcement

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on April 22, 2009

Cummings Requests Congressional Hearing on AIG Denying Claims for Civilians Injured in Iraq, Afghanistan

Washington, DC—Today, Congressman Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.), a senior member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, sent a letter (text below) to Domestic Policy Subcommittee Chairman Dennis J. Kucinich (D-Ohio) requesting a hearing to examine a recent investigation by the Los Angeles Times, ABC News, and ProPublica. According to the investigation, AIG and other insurance companies have been unnecessarily denying and prolonging serious health insurance claims of civilian contractors who were injured or killed while participating in U.S. combat activities in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“The men and women who sacrifice their lives to protect our nation on the battlefield should be able to return to their families without having to wage another battle here at home to receive the health care they are more than entitled to receive,” Congressman Cummings said. “I was absolutely disgusted to read about the atrocities that individuals are being forced to endure as they attempt to get treatment for the injuries they received while serving our country.”

Under the Defense Base Act (DBA), contractors and subcontractors are required to purchase for employees working overseas insurance that covers medical care and disability payments for on-the-job injuries, as well as death benefits to the families of employees who are killed on the job. The costs of the insurance are built into the price of the contract between the contractor and the federal government.

The Department of Labor is designated by the law to administer the requirements of the DBA but has been unable to do an adequate job do to underfunding and increased claim volume. Further, the Department of Defense has not adopted a single-contract process for retaining an insurer under DBA, allowing insurance companies to inflate premium costs.

“There are clearly serious deficiencies in the health coverage of civilian employees who have been injured while working overseas to keep us safe here at home—costing not only the men and women who are being refused coverage for the treatment they need, but also for the American taxpayers who are footing the bill for their coverage,” Congressman Cummings said. “It is important that the Congress investigate this issue and take appropriate action to fix these problems.”

Specifically, Congressman Cummings would like a hearing to examine the DBA insurance practices at AIG, which handles the bulk of these claims, as well as the Department of Labor’s inability to enforce the requirements of DBA and the Pentagon’s development and implementation of the strategy required under the a provision included in the 2009 Duncan Hunter Defense Authorization Act to minimize insurance costs for the DOD and contractors.

The Text of the Letter:
April 21, 2009
The Honorable Dennis J. Kucinich
Chairman, Subcommittee on Domestic Policy
Oversight and Government Reform Committee
2445 Rayburn House Office Building
Dear Chairman Kucinich:
The Los Angeles Times, in conjunction with ABC News and ProPublica, reported on Friday, April 17, 2009, that the health insurance claims of civilian contractors who participated in military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan have been denied with unsettling frequency.[1] I write to request that the Domestic Policy Subcommittee of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hold a hearing to examine the issues detailed in the Los Angeles Times, ABC News,and ProPublica investigation.
Per the Defense Base Act (DBA), 42 U.S.C. 1651-1654, contractors and subcontractors are required to purchase workers’ compensation insurance for employees working overseas. The insurance purchased must cover medical care and disability payments for workers injured in the performance of job duties; it must also provide death benefits for the families of employees killed on the job. The costs of insurance premiums paid by the contracting firms are then built into the price of the contract between the contractor and the Federal Government.
Right now, there are more than 31,000 current and continuing civilian injury claims, as well as more than 1,400 claims for death benefits. The American International Group, Inc. (AIG) and other insurers have received some $1.5 billion in premium payments, while paying out $900 million in compensation and expenses. According to the article, AIG is the primary insurer retained by contracting firms, handling some 90 percent of civilian claims filed in the war zones in 2007.
The article goes on to describe the difficulty that claimants have encountered in receiving benefits for medical care and disability payments, as well as the challenges faced by the families of those killed in receiving death benefits. From prosthetic limbs to treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, the claimants have faced a “reject first and investigate later” mentality from the insurers.[2] In order to receive their legally mandated compensation, claimants often have to resort to mediation or litigation.
The Department of Labor (DOL) is the administrator of the DBA by statute. However, the article notes that because of underfunding and increasing claim volume, DOL has been unable to adequately enforce that: (1) contractors provide the mandatory coverage required under the DBA; and (2) insurers process the claims fairly and consistently.
Not only have claims been denied unfairly, but the contractors and insurers are able to operate with relative impunity. The Department of Defense (DOD), unlike the State Department and the Agency for International Development, has not adopted a competitive single-contract process for retaining an insurer under the DBA. Therefore, insurers are free to demand their own premium costs from contractors, with the taxpayers ultimately footing the bill. Further, in a September 28, 2007 report, the U.S. Army Audit Agency found AIG premiums to be “unreasonably high.”
As you are aware, the full committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a hearing on the DBA on May 15, 2008. The hearing examined taxpayer costs under the DBA, as well as the Pentagon’s failure to put appropriate controls on the program. As a result, the Duncan Hunter National Defense Authorization Act for FY2009 (P.L. 110-417) included a provision requiring the DOD to adopt an acquisition strategy that minimizes insurance costs for both the DOD and for contractors. The strategy was to include a competitive marketplace for the selection of insurers.
Despite our efforts to include the above constraints on the 2009 Defense authorization, the status quo remains. Regrettably, those most in need of assistance – the civilian employees injured while assisting our military – continue to face unnecessary delay and harm.
While AIG is not the only insurer providing this coverage, that firm handles the bulk of the claims. Over the last few months, AIG has engaged in a pattern of deception and reckless behavior with respect to taxpayer funds, and I am deeply disturbed that the firm may be withholding any payments contractually due to civilian contractors injured in Iraq or the families of civilian contractors killed in Iraq.
As mentioned at the outset of this letter, I am requesting a hearing of the Domestic Policy Subcommittee that could potentially examine the DBA insurance practices at AIG, DOL’s inability to enforce the requirements of the DBA, and the Pentagon’s development and implementation of the strategy required under the 2009 National Defense Authorization Act.
I thank you for your continued hard work to address the needs of all Americans, and I look forward to hearing from you.
Elijah E. Cummings
Member of Congress

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How CNA Treats Foreign DBA Claimants

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on April 20, 2009

I thought they saved this treatment for the TCN’s….
Daniel just posted this at ProPublica

My name is Daniel Brink. I worked with Tim Newman at Dyncorp and was injured during December 2005. I’m from South Africa and have the same problems with CNA Global. I also lost my leg and most of my fingers in an EFP/IED explosion in Baquba. My medical debts are not paid. My credit has been revoked and the bank has repossessed my house. I have lost so much because CNA Global does not want to pay me debts.

Dyncorp invited me to the alumni launch in Texas with the promise of a job as the CEAP rep for South Africa. Nothing ever came of it even though i have all the e-mails to prove their promises.

CNA Has recently sent me a letter from their attorney stating that i have reached MMI based on a finding from a doctor that they employ. I still have major surgery ahead of me for the next two years. What a load of “Bulls@$%$it”.

I met Chritstian T at the CEAP Launch and he is a greatr guy. Thanks to him and others, Companies like CNA and AIG are exposed as the only regulated Mafia of the Insurance industry.

I leave you with this information:

“I arranged for a meeting with CNA Global and Donna Sprags. The nursecase manager Jody Mcewan arranged the meeting In Chicago at the offices of CNA Global. Im left South Africa with a Medic, a Nurse and my wife.

When  I arrived at the building of CNA i was told that she will not see me and was thrown out of the building by security”. The trip cost me $15 000 and i have outstanding medical debts of $150 000.



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Dropping the DBA ball

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on April 18, 2009

In a recent story on injured contractors by ProPublica,

Miranda Chiu,
This Miranda Chiu,

Miranda Chiu, U.S. Dept. of Labor,

Chief, Branch of Policy,Regulations and Procedures,


Is quoted as saying:

“The problem that we see a lot is where injuries occur overseasthe knee-jerk reaction is the insurance company says, ‘I can’t pay right now. I don’t have documentation,’ ”

said Miranda Chiu, Labor’s director of policy for Defense Base Act claims.

“They drop the ball.”

Editors Note:  All DBA injuries occur overseas unless they are on the way to or from the overseas jobsite

Now according to the Defense Base Act:

The U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP), Division
of Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation, administers the Defense Base Act, ensuring that workers’ compensation benefits are provided for covered employees promptly and correctly.

How much blood on the ground does it take to get documentation?

The employer and the injured contractor have specific time limits, like 10 days, on the time they get to provide the proper documents.   All of the paperwork goes through the DoL.


AIG  and CNA couldn’t get away with  “dropping the ball” as a matter of rule if the Department of Labor was anywhere near the park.

Posted in ACE, AIG and CNA, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act Law and Procedure, Department of Labor, Political Watch | Tagged: , , , , , | 15 Comments »

Injured Contractors, AIG in the news?

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on April 18, 2009

 Where was the news?

On Friday the LA Times, Pro Publica, and ABC via Good Morning America and 20/20 all reported on the difficulties injured contractors are dealing with trying to get the benefits afforded them under the Defense Base Act. 

Injured contractors and their families provided these journalists with some pretty incriminating information on AIG, CNA, dirty doctors and lawyers losing DBA claims, benefits, for their clients by not working in their best interests.  We’re not talking hearsay, we’re talking about documented facts.

What we got was a tabloid like rehash of the same issues, though they admittedly have not improved in the years that they’ve been covering this.
For ABC this was an opportunity to jump on the AIG bashing bandwagon. Good job at that for sure.

The LA TImes was sitting on this story for the last year. They were likely hoping to cash in on the AIG bashing bandwagon or we may not have seen it still.

So when does the public get to hear the rest of the news of how the injured contractors and the taxpayer are getting screwed?

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Bailed-Out AIG Pampers Execs While Denying, Delaying Claims of Contractors Injured in Iraq

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on April 17, 2009

Good Morning America Friday April 17, 2009
The insurance giant doled out hefty bonuses but skimped on disability benefits
Watch the video here

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Injured War Zone Contractors Fight to Get Care From AIG and Other Insurers

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on April 17, 2009

by T. Christian Miller, ProPublica and Doug Smith, the Los Angeles Times – April 16, 2009 10:25 pm EDT
Reporting from Los Angeles and Washington — Civilian workers who suffered devastating injuries while supporting the U.S. war effort in Iraq and Afghanistan have come home to a grinding battle for basic medical care, artificial limbs, psychological counseling and other services.

The insurance companies responsible for their treatment under taxpayer-funded policies have routinely denied the most serious medical claims. Those insurers — primarily American International Group (AIG) — recorded hundreds of millions of dollars in profits on this business.

The civilian contractors have played an indispensable role in the two conflicts, delivering fuel to frontline troops, guarding U.S. diplomats and translating for soldiers during dangerous raids. More than 1,400 civilian workers have died and 31,000 have been wounded or injured in the two war zones.

Yet unlike wounded soldiers, who are offered healthcare, rehabilitation and support services by the military, the civilians have to battle a federally supervised insurance system marked by high costs and excessive delays, an investigation by the Los Angeles Times and ProPublica has found.

In contrast to the public outcry over squalid conditions at some military hospitals, the contractors’ plight has drawn little attention.
Read the whole story here

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Contractors Wounded in War Return Home to Fight AIG and Other Insurers

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on April 16, 2009
As ABC News is reporting, we are about to publish a major investigation detailing how U.S. contractors wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan have been sent to a private insurance system that offered substandard treatment and delayed their care as they suffered from devastating injuries. The company playing the role of Dr. No? AIG. The investigation will also examine how the U.S. government has pumped billions of dollars to AIG and other carrriers, while failing to make sure they delivered care.

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Blind Amputee has to fight AIG for new plastic leg, Wheelchair

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on April 16, 2009

While Executives Get Bonuses, John Woodson Gets “Cheapest They Could Get Away With”
April 16, 2009
Story here
An Oklahoma man who lost an eye and a leg in Iraq says the giant insurance company AIG refused to provide him a new plastic leg and fought to keep from paying for a wheelchair or glasses for the eye in which he has 30 percent vision.
“They bought the cheapest thing that they could get away with,” said 51-year old John Woodson, a truck driver for the KBR contracting firm who lost his leg when his truck hit a roadside bomb in Iraq.

“Everything’s been a struggle, a constant fight,” said Woodson, injured in Oct. 2004. “It’s been hell since.”
Woodson is covered by AIG under a government-mandated program that provides medical and disability benefits for employees working for U.S. contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan. AIG covers about 90 percent of the claims for overseas workers.

Still in constant pain, Woodson says he was infuriated to see AIG executives receive huge bonuses, travel on private jets and be pampered at a California spa.

“They’re getting their bonuses but they fight you, they’ll constantly fight in order to try to get you to give up,” said Woodson, of Poteau, Oklahoma.

Woodson is one of a number of injured contractors whose alleged difficulties with AIG were examined in the joint investigation.
AIG said it could not discuss any specific case, but that it strives to provide “quality” care.
“We think we’re helping the military with out insurance program,” said AIG executive John Russo.

In Woodson’s case, when his fuel truck hit the hidden bomb outside Baghdad, he was blown through the roof of his cab and thrown about a hundred feet away, also damaging his back and breaking his pelvis.

Woodson says he was told by an AIG representative in the hospital that he would be fully covered by AIG, but that when he returned home, he quickly discovered AIG was prepared to challenge almost all of his medical needs.

“I’ve had to argue for everything, you constantly stay on the phone, writing letters, e-mailing, trying to get things to happen,” Woodson said.

To cushion the impact on his injured back and pelvis, Woodsen asked AIG for a new plastic leg with a spring in the foot.

“It was just so painful just to walk,” Woodson said.

He says AIG refused to buy him a new leg, which he says would have cost about $8,000.

AIG also refused, he said, to provide him a water-proof leg so he could remain standing and take a shower.

U.S. military amputees are normally provided three different legs, to cover a full range of walking, showering and exercising.

In the end, Woodson says he thinks it was pressure from his lawyer and Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) that forced AIG to finally provide an improved leg, with replacement parts, but not a new one as his doctor had ordered.

Woodson’s lawyer, Toby Cole, says he sees a pattern of AIG “delaying and denying” claims from contractors injured in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“It’s difficult for me to think it’s anything but a concentrated effort just to ignore these guys,” said Cole.

In its statement, AIG says the “vast majority” of claims are “paid without dispute when the proper supporting medical evidence has been received.”

More than 30,000 contractors have filed claims for injuries suffered in Iraq and Afghanistan. More than 1,400 have died

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Defense Base Act Workmans Compensation is No Guarantee

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on April 13, 2009

Most employees assume that the Defense Base Act coverage will provide medical care, lost wages, and/or death benefits in the event they are injured and/or killed working overseas in a war zone.

Those that know they are covered by it that is.

The intent of the Defense Base Act was just that.

The Defense Base Act has been put in the hands of insurance companies, mainly AIG, CNA, and their ruthless lawyers.

The Department of Labor, who is tasked with implementation and oversight of the DBA, has been out to lunch.

Your employer is not required to provide as safe a workplace as possible under this act.

The injured employee is guaranteed nothing. They may file a claim with the insurance company. They may hire a lawyer who is supposed to be covered by the insurance company. There is some effort as of late to push this responsibility onto the injured employee.

The Defense Base Act though written in black and white is “interpreted” by judges to mean whatever they think it should at any given time. There is a constant evolution of what is considered to be the Defense Base Act even though neither the Defense Base Act itself, or it’s intention, has been changed by Congress as would be required.

If your thinking of going to work in a war zone please think of how your going to take care of yourself and your family for the many years it may take you to get anything out of the insurance company.

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